Crossing the Hearth...
Captain's Log. Star-date 9 May 2014. A curious phenomenon I believe I commented on in a previous blog: the virtual impossibility of a stranger to these lands to cross the hearth of a native. This phenomenon is corroborated by multiple testimonies. It often takes years for a visitor to the Cling-On region to be welcomed into a household, even for a passing visit. There are of course some rare exceptions. These tend to be (a) single people who live alone or do not have a family; (b) extraordinarily open Cling-Ons who are willing to admit into their homes somebody of foreign extraction who is not fully integrated into the fabric of their society already. If you want to cross the threshold of a home here, there are two ways: one, marry a Cling-On and then you will have "honorary Cling-On" status, and be considered "one of them" at least for practical social purposes; or (b) meet someone who is breaks the mold and opens the doors of their home to "blow-ins." The latter is rare but does happen. In a future blog, I will speculate about why the hearth, the home, is so sacrosanct here, and why it is specifically the family hearth, not the hearth in general, that is so closed off to non-natives.
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David Thunder is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, a humanities and social science research center at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
visitors since 7 Oct 2012